ABU DHABI // Police have hired a private firm to handle minor accidents around the emirate, so officers can clamp down on more serious driving offences. Saaed, a national company, will put 25 patrol cars on the roads on Sept 15 to patrol Abu Dhabi and its suburbs. The company said it would add more patrols in stages. The cars will respond to minor accidents and draw up reports, including diagrams of crash scenes, to help determine fault. It will then submit the information to insurance companies as needed.
The move marks the first time police duties have been outsourced to a private firm. The Government also plans to privatise parking enforcement. Ibrahim bin Yousef Ramel, the executive director of Saaed, said each patrol car was equipped with first aid gear, and would be able to communicate with control centres at both Saaed and the traffic police department. The change will allow police to concentrate on their campaign against reckless driving on city roads and motorways.
Seventeen offences now carry tougher penalties based on amendments to the federal traffic laws made in March, including the introduction of a points system. In the first four months of this year, there were 1,434 accidents in Abu Dhabi, but police said traffic offences had dropped significantly. The number of traffic tickets issued between March and June fell to 159,770 - less than half the 363,067 issued in the same period last year.
A driver who accumulates 24 points on their licence in a one-year period can have their licence suspended for up to a year and must attend a training course before they can drive again. In June, police suspended the licences of 240 drivers after introducing the points system. Under a recently announced parking management programme, which is expected to cost more than Dh900 million, municipal parking inspectors, trained and managed by London-based NCP Services, will hand out parking tickets.